Entrepreneurship has always been considered the route towards global recovery and growth. The contribution of female entrepreneurship is of utmost importance as women bring into business ventures attributes such as team spirit, synergy, intuition, multi-tasking, and social awareness, beneficial both for entrepreneurial advancement and society.
However, women wishing to pursue or/and maintain a successful paths in entrepreneurship are still faced with a gender gap prevailing in entrepreneurial practice and culture. Despite an encouraging recent increase in the number of women entrepreneurs, their representation is still limited.
In fact, ‘Not only is this gender imbalance unfair to women, but also damaging to the Kenyan economy at a time when the country needs more entrepreneurs to fuel its economic recovery and create the SMEs which are the backbone of the economy and its main job-creation engine.
Not only is this gender imbalance unfair to women, but also damaging to the Kenyan economy at a time when the country needs more entrepreneurs to fuel its economic recovery.
So how can we leverage the strengths in women entrepreneurship?
Bringing ‘Can dos’ on Stage
Strengths-based mentoring is a leading-edge approach that yields positive results as it is an evolutionary experience for both mentors and mentees.
In general, strengths-based mentoring focuses on individual virtues, talents, and the human ability for fulfilment rather than on weaknesses and deficits. It is a positive perspective that elaborates on and culminates in, the things one ‘can do’ rather on those that one cannot.
The logic is to put less effort and get more energy from those inner strengths that accumulate toward one’s evolution and make a difference in one’s growth path, rather than waste most energy on things that could only improve to a pre-defined and limited scale, preventing growth acceleration.
This dynamic approach achieves to manifest what one can do thus creating also a positive chain reaction to the immediate working (and social) environment such as colleagues, workforce, and the business culture as a whole.
A Trustworthy Mentor-Mentee Relation
A caring relationship between the mentor and the woman entrepreneur is paramount for facilitating the latter to develop her inner strengths while enabling her to elevate from average to A+ performance.
Strengths-based mentoring can prove an empowering experience and a meaningful drive for the woman entrepreneur. It also provides a fertile ground and an ample opportunity for the woman entrepreneur to speak to her mentor about the strengths she is already putting to use and with what results, the strengths she wants to develop further, and use more and about her intended strategy for achieving these towards goal realisation.
By providing constructive feedback and continuous support, the mentor enables her to make the most out of her strengths in her professional and personal life while encouraging and inspiring her to tap her potential.
We all have talents
A talent is a naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behaviour that can be productively applied. Individuals who utilise their talents increase the likelihood of fulfilling their potential, providing effective performance on recurring occasions and situations while achieving not good but excellent performance at work and all areas of social activity. This constitutes solid justification as to why individuals should aspire to identify, understand, and cultivate their innate talents.
Natural talents are elevated to strengths through refinement enabled by the formal or informal acquisition of knowledge, skill, and experience enhanced by practice.
- We all have Strengths
Strengths are, indeed, an integral part of our human identity, constituting the intrinsic and inherent qualities that define us as individuals.
A strength is delineated in three elements – performance, energy, and use-all of which must be present for strengths to underpin and sustain optimal performance. Using strength energises and motivates individuals to contribute discretionary effort towards attaining their goals while it nourishes in them a feeling of achievement since they perform per the things they are best at.
Research indicates that when individuals use their strengths, they feel happier, more confident, and more engaged at work, and they perform better while experiencing a sense of resilience for achieving their goals.
A Positive Outlook for The Future
Strengths-based mentoring can prove a solid entrepreneurship base for the woman to develop her self-confidence and self-efficacy as well as a clear view of how she can best respond to the business environment through self-reflection and evaluation based on her strengths.
By adopting the strengths-based approach, the woman entrepreneur has the opportunity to use her strengths and also help her employees free their own strengths. Their performance improves since they can tap their potential.
This positive experience involves the mentor as a genuine supporter. The mentor can help the woman entrepreneur to free her strengths through self-awareness, communication, and feedback, authentic interest for her development, and commitment to the mentoring relationship. The mentor’s strengths as well as his/her experience need to be utilised to help the woman entrepreneur achieve her personal and professional goals through strengths’ identification and creative use in her activities.
Overall, strengths-based mentoring is a change in perception relating to the development of the woman entrepreneur. It is a positive attitude that shifts focus from survival to well-being, from the existing situation to new opportunities, and from the effort to improve weaknesses to the capitalisation of strengths.